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  • Cruising the Pac Rim: Driven to Thrill

    Deborah Wong

    Chapter from the book: Wong, D. 2019. Louder and Faster: Pain, Joy, and the Body Politic in Asian American Taiko.


    This chapter addresses a 2005 television commercial for the Mitsubishi Eclipse featuring Asian American women playing taiko. By focusing on the transnational movement of cars and musics through globalized economies, the chapter considers the close relationships between Asia and Asian America as an outcome of 21st-c. neoliberal markets and ideas about the Pacific Rim as an open zone of capital and cultural exchange. The chapter features a close consideration of how the sixty-second commercial relies on visual and sonic representations of eroticized Japaneseness. The history of Asian import cars and Asian/Asian American street racing, and the rise of J-cool as a late 20th-c. soft power are examined. Finally, an autoethnographic episode in which members of the Taiko Center of Los Angeles were invited to audition for the Mitsubishi commercial addresses the marketing team’s (mis)understandings of taiko as a gendered and racialized practice.

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    Wong, D. 2019. Cruising the Pac Rim: Driven to Thrill. In: Wong, D, Louder and Faster. California: University of California Press. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1525/luminos.71.h

    This chapter distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution + Noncommercial + NoDerivatives 4.0 license. Copyright is retained by the author(s)

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    Published on Sept. 10, 2019


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